There’s a huge difference between liking something and being passionate about it, and that’s what sets a casual customer apart from a brand evangelist. There’s much to be gained by turning your customers into your biggest fans. While you can’t buy that kind of loyalty, it is in your power to make it happen. Here’s how:
Figure out what customers love about your brand.
How are you earning a following? Are people going crazy over a certain product? Do you have a reputation for great customer service? Talk to your customers and see what they’re saying on social media to get a sense of what excites them about your brand. Then you’ll have a better idea of what to promote and how to build on it.
Take customer feedback seriously.
Customers’ complaints are just as important as their kudos. Whether it’s through comment cards or online reviews, pay attention to what people think you should improve about your brand, especially when they’re in a public forum. If a customer posts a gripe about a product or service, respond and give them the option of direct messaging you so that you can work things out. When customers see that you take the time to address their concerns, it proves that you’re a company worth doing business with. And they’ll tell their friends.
Find your biggest champions.
Who are your superfans? Who sings your praises to friends, family and coworkers? Who posts positive reviews on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more? Recognize your best customers with special discounts and deals, and talk to them about ways you can work together through a brand ambassador or rewards program.
Treat your employees well.
You can’t make customers happy when your own staff is miserable (and it’s pretty obvious when they are). Figure out how to make your company a desirable workplace by offering competitive compensation, plus other perks like free snacks, group outings or thoughtful public recognition for team members who go the extra mile. Happy employees can go a long way toward converting customers into evangelists.
Use social media strategically to mobilize your fans.
Of course it’s great to have your customers promoting your brand all over social media, but there’s also a benefit to concentrating on one or two outlets, whether that’s Instagram, Snapchat or something else. Let your core target audience determine which outlets make the most sense for you, and then focus your efforts there. Through designated hashtags or shares, you can get a sense of your reach and easily connect with an extended audience.
Surprise and delight your fans.
You can never have too many brand loyalists, and the best way to sustain their interest is to keep them guessing about the next exciting offer or product. It’s possible to stay true to your mission while growing and evolving, and your brand evangelists will notice when you get it right.